Guide to the Perfect Smoothie

Mango Smoothie

The perfect smoothie, in my opinion, is the best possible breakfast. It’s a healthy, tasty, easy-to-transport meal; yes, I believe a good smoothie can be a complete meal!

Get my recipe for the above mango smoothie here

WIAW green smoothie

However, smoothies can also be great lunches, snacks, and even desserts. Below I explain the six simple steps to creating a great smoothie, and at the request of a friend, I’ve included some of my personal favorite recipes at the end.

WIAW smoothie

STEP 1: PICK A LIQUID BASE

Here are my favorites:

  • Almond milk
  • Coconut / almond milk blend
  • Skim milk
  • Coconut water
  • Juice (I like to use unsweetened, not from concentrate, organic juice, such as this blueberry one from Lakewood Organic)
  • Coffee

WIAW Smoothie

STEP 2: ADD SOMETHING FROZEN [& MAYBE SOMETHING FRESH]

It’s more important to add something frozen to your smoothies (bonus: frozen fruits and vegetables are generally less expensive and last longer!) than something fresh, but it’s fun to sometimes mix it up.

Frozen ideas:

  • Fruit: berries, bananas, watermelon, papaya, pineapple, peaches… all the fruit!
  • Vegetables: broccoli, kale, spinach (note: I don’t like to use vegetables if my liquid base is any kind of milk, but that’s a personal preference)
  • Ice cubes (made from water, iced coffee, or juice)

Fresh ideas:

  • Fruit: plums, peaches, bananas, berries… anything, really!
  • Vegetables: celery, spinach, kale

STEP 3: THICKEN

A good smoothie is all about the texture and consistency. Here are some things you can add to adjust the thickness and texture of your smoothie:

  • Nut butters: peanut butter, tahini, almond butter
  • Powdered peanut butter, or PB2. This is a powder, so the oil and removed. Use this if you are trying to keep the calorie count down.
  • Protein powder: I like vegan or hemp protein powders, but many prefer the taste and texture of a whey powder
  • Fiber powder
  • Vega recovery powder (perfect for after a workout)

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What I Ate Wednesday: Astoria & New York

making a smoothie WIAW

Welcome to yet another WIAW hosted by the awesome blog Peas and Crayons!

Breakfast: here is my smoothie in the blender pre-blending. I thought the vibrant orange and green looked pretty cool, so I took this before picture.

green smoothie WIAW

This smoothie consisted of (all organic except the cantaloupe):

  • Wheat grass powder
  • Matcha green tea powder
  • Maple syrup
  • Celery
  • Cantaloupe (frozen)
  • Lemon juice
  • Water

best vegan sandwich ever

Lunch: sadly, I had to eat at my desk, but at least I brought an awesome sandwich from home! I think this is one of my favorite vegan creations, and I ate it three days in a row last week. The whole-wheat bread sandwich is loaded up with:

  • Avocado hummus
  • Vegenaise
  • Homemade tahini pesto (I mixed olive oil and basil with tahini and lemon juice in my new food processor; amazing!)
  • Pickled beets
  • Capers
  • Lentil sprouts
  • Alfalfa sprouts
  • Arugula sprouts

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What I Ate Wednesday, Astoria & New York

Tahini cinnamon smoothie

Breakfast: Absolutely delicious, organic, creamy cinnamon tahini smoothie I adapted from this recipe by Nutrition Stripped. Here’s my version (serves 2 – roughly 250 calories per serving):

  • 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • 1/4 cup hemp hearts 
  • 1/2 packet of stevia (about 1/4 tsp.)
  • 1 heaping tablespoon of tahini
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 ice cubes

apples with cinnamon

Mid-morning snack: 1 organic apple with cinnamon (not pictured: matcha green tea with stevia and lemon juice).

Little Collins NYC latte

Lunch: I met my friend Geneve for lunch at my favorite café near work, Little Collins. I ordered a small unsweetened latte, which came with a very tiny, nutty cookie.

Little Collins turkey sandwich

I also had a turkey confit sandwich with fried onion and mustard seeds, and a very small arugula / dried cranberry salad on the side. It was absolutely as delicious as it looks!

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What I Ate Wednesday: Gluten, Dairy, Corn and Sugar Free

Due to some medical issues, I decided to do a one-week cleanse and test, to see if some foods might be causing me issues (one week later, I’m glad to say that I don’t think they are). The diet meant I couldn’t eat gluten, dairy, corn, salt or sugar. I’ll be honest and say I avoided salt, but I can’t say I went “salt-free” since there were a few things I ate which already had a little bit of salt added. But I didn’t add any salt to anything, and wherever possible I avoided items that contained it.

Here’s what day 1 without all those items looked like:

WIAW Smoothie

Breakfast: luckily my breakfast smoothies don’t contain any of the off-limits items, so I made it per usual, just leaving out the stevia/sugar. The bee pollen, although mild with a waxy texture, gives it just enough sweetness along with the milk and banana (serves one):

  • .5 cup almond / coconut milk blend
  • 1 banana
  • 2 tbsp. PB2
  • 1 tsp. bee pollen
  • 3 ice cubes (this is unnecessary if you use a frozen banana)

Avocado with balsamic vinegar

Snack #1: Lunch came in the form of three small rounds of snacking: the first was half of an organic avocado with balsamic vinegar. I normally would’ve added garlic salt, but I restrained myself.

Sweet potato and black rice with hummus

Snack #2: black rice with half of a baked sweet potato and a dollop of hummus. You can’t tell from the picture, but this was a really small portion of food. The rice was only 1/8 of a cup before cooked and the sweet potato wasn’t too big either. It was delicious though!

Wasabi soy sauce almonds

Snack #3: 28 wasabi and soy sauce almonds. These had salt, obviously, but I already had them in my desk and didn’t want to spend more money on nuts, which are expensive. Also, I needed some protein!

Half fresh orange juice

As I mentioned, I wasn’t feeling too good last week, so I briefly stepped out of work for an afternoon walk in sunny Central Park and picked up a half bottle of fresh squeezed orange juice from Delissimo Deli.

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What I Ate Wednesday: Astoria & New York

Peanut butter banana smoothie with bee pollen

In the Austin Texas Whole Foods, I discovered PB2, a powdered peanut butter that has 85% less fat than regular peanut butter. I am a huge nut-butter-lover, in all it’s fatty oily glory, but this is a good alternative for smoothies and oatmeal, since it keeps the calorie count down and is frankly just easier to add into the blender than regular, sticky peanut butter. Monday morning’s smoothie consisted of:

Estimated calories: 200. A few quick nutritional notes:

Bee pollen (I picked mine up this weekend at the Spa City Farmer’s Market) is a “complete food,” since it contains vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, lipids, and protein. As the guy at the market told us, if you could collect enough of it, you could survive solely on bee pollen. It’s also low on calories- 1 tsp. has only 15

Coconut palm sugar is super low on the glycemic index, is high in nutrients and has 16 vital amino acids.

Dr. Mercola Matcha Green tea

Once I arrived at work, I drank two cups of iced green tea that I’d made at home with organic match green tea powder, coconut palm sugar with stevia and lemon juice. It was a very groggy Monday morning for me, so this was necessary!

Estimated calories: 15

Pretzel Crisps mini package

Around 11:00 a.m. I was already hungry, so I had a small pack of Pretzel Crisps, leftover from when they came to our office – I also won three months of free Pretzel Crisps that week, so much more on that later! This pack is very tiny, only 14 grams (that’s half an ounce!) and 50 calories. It’s just enough to satisfy a snack craving.

Estimated calories: 50

Chipotle Salad WIAW

Lunch today was a salad from Chipotle. I usually don’t load up my salads there, but today I was pretty hungry so I had them add chicken, sautéed fajita veggies (bell peppers and onions), tomato salsa, cheese, black beans and guacamole. I don’t like their salad dressing, so I just use Tabasco’s Chipotle hot sauce, but today they were almost out! I had to use some of the green jalapeño sauce as well.

Estimated calories: 650

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